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They will painstakingly craft a fake profile and begin targeting people that are looking for love.

Once they’ve made contact, they will typically request to move the conversation to a private instant messaging service.

[Update: the site contacted us to notify us of the precautions they have in place, including a human editor who responds to complaints and reports, and Threat Metrix, a cybercrime prevention software.] “On some dating sites, as many as one out of 10 profiles is a scammer,,” Mark Brooks, editor of Online Personals Watch told Glamour.

The lesson here is that online dating startups will need to step up their game to keep consumers safe.

It turns out that the crippling fear of an awkward first date is the least of your troubles.

Experts say online daters are always wise to be skeptical regarding what someone they’ve met online, and not in the flesh, tells them.

Most dating websites—even ones that cost money—don’t vet the people who sign up.

(The FBI says it may be embarrassing for victims to report this type of fraud scheme because of the personal relationships that are developed, so the real numbers are probably higher.) As one result, fear of a horrible first date is just one of the things a would-be online dater has to worry about. “Most people think the victims are middle-aged women who can’t get a date, but I have worked with men and women of all ages—doctors and lawyers, CEOs of companies, people from the entertainment industry—who you’d never think in a million years would fall for these scams but do,” says Barb Sluppick, who runs Romance Scams, a watchdog site and online support group.

According to a recent Consumer Reports Online Dating Survey of more than 114,000 subscribers, among the respondents who were considering online dating but were hesitant, 46 percent said they were concerned about being scammed. “Typically the scammer builds trust by writing long letters over weeks or months and crafting a whole persona for their victims,” says David Farquhar, Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI.

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